Things that have made my life easier lately.
Mandatory post. Keeping you “posted”.
- Zipcar (Use this link for $25 in free driving-credit!)
Having owned two or more cars at a time for the past few years (since I can’t drive my Volkswagen R32 in the winter due to all of the modified components on the motor) … Zipcar has been true blessing. Rent cars for as little as $7/per-hour via a toll-free number, text message, their website, or their iPhone application. It’s awesome. That price even includes free gas, insurance, and 180-miles of driving! So, as long as you don’t have a bad driving record, you can join instantly and save a fortune if you don’t need a car for a daily commute.
Mozy(Now using Backblaze vs.) Backup your entire computer for as little as $4.95/month. Enough said.
- Backblaze (instead of Mozy)
I now use Backblaze for computer backups. It’s great! Much faster than Mozy, has much better software, and even offers unlimited backup space. You can even prepay access for up to 2 years at just $3.96/month! — If you lose your data, they can even send you a USB drive with your computer’s contents.
Okay, so most people know about Hulu and how you can watch TV shows for free the day after they’ve aired with “limited commercial interruption” … well — most people don’t think about the fact that you can also get rid of your Satellite or Cable TV and just use this instead. Do it.
One downside to Zipcar is that their daily rates (with the exception of a single-day snowboarding trip, which I’ve done several times divided by four passengers… excellent plan) are often comparable to just flying to the nearby city you were considering spending the weekend. However, BoltBus to the rescue! Book at least 30-days in advance and your trip there only costs $1. Seriously. “Bolt for a Buck” is their slogan. They even have FREE Wi-Fi internet access on the bus.
- Amazon Prime
Imagine getting FREE two-day shipping on anything shipped from Amazon’s warehouse. It’s not quite free… it’s actually like $79/year for the service or something. However, living in the city and relying on Zipcar reservations to pick stuff up, sometimes it’s just easier to have it arrive in two-days than go to a specific store. Also, almost everything is cheaper on Amazon… sometimes significantly cheaper. Pharmaceutical items (such as soap, shampoo, etc.) are often sold in 3-packs for the price you’d pay at the store. Never again will I shop in a store for anything except food! (…Unless it’s a really good deal, or I need it that day… or Amazon doesn’t sell it.)
Also, here are some geeky things that have helped me out lately:
Sometimes there’s nothing on Hulu I feel like watching… so if you feel like educating yourself in something nerdy… here you go. Free online television reminiscent of the TechTV days.
Feedly(now using Reeder & TMNT vs.) Feedly is downloadable script that runs in your browser (such as Safari or Firefox) presenting a daily “magazine-like start page” based on your Twitter streams and Google Reader feeds. If you don’t know what either of those things are… then maybe this isn’t for you… but it’s pretty cool if you do use those things already!
- Reeder & TMNT (Migrating feeds to Twitter) (instead of Feedly) … If you’ve used RSS before unsuccessfully, then you may benefit from moving all of your feeds to Twitter. 140 characters is a lot easier to skim than an entire article or headline. Using a dedicated software App to check your most important feeds simultaneously fills any gaps in this approach…. I recommend “Reeder” for Mac and iOS. [UPDATE: 2013/08/19 … “Reeder for Mac” is discontinued currently, try ReadKit instead!] — See my detailed write-up…
Since moving my blog from Wordpress to Tumblr this morning, I’ve been able to remove yet another website I need to manage… my own. Now Tumblr does everything for me and I can post stuff really easily. I can even redesign it myself through a single template… reminiscent of the old Blogger days. (which is removing FTP support shortly)
- The Rackspace Cloud
Cloud Services have become mainstream, and I’ve been able to eliminate a ton of servers from my company and daily operations as well at great savings to myself. Rackspace provides both virtual servers at just a few dollars per-month, and load-balanced website hosting for everyone from the casual blogger to the small startup. I host ilikebsides there, as well as everything else I run except Mobile17… which is hosted at regular Rackspace because it requires networked dedicated servers and a considerable amount of storage. The Rackspace Cloud is perfect for everything else!
If you find yourself doing boring repeat tasks all of the time… Timesvr might be a great way to outsource some of those. I particularly like it for repeat tasks that can be done once per-day by just about anyone. Try it for a month and see if you really save time! (Just FYI… if the task involves any thinking, don’t bother. It’s mostly for manual labor.)
- Coda for Mac OS X
Dreamweaver for Mac is extremely unstable… or at least it was the last time I used it. I highly recommend Coda for streamlined web-development as long as you’re comfortable writing code for everything. There is no visual design feature in Coda, but it keeps the program lightweight, stable, and quick. Love it!
- CrossOver Gaming for Mac
Almost all of the games I used to play when I had Bootcamp installed on my Mac (to also boot into Windows XP for the sake of updating my BlackBerry or playing a quick episode of Half-Life 2) were run through Steam. Luckily, Steam is able to run in CrossOver Gaming… so now I don’t even need Bootcamp on my Mac. Sorry Microsoft. :)